November 16, 2017 – Las Vegas, NV – Tonight’s $50,000 FEI 1.50m Las Vegas National Welcome Jumper Speed Classic, presented by Walter Oil & Gas Corporation, was the qualifier for Saturday night’s highlight class, and the competition among the 53 entries was fierce. Galloping in the arena in the twelfth spot, U.S.A.’s Kristen Vanderveen rode a masterfully fast track in 54.77 seconds aboard the 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion Bull Run’s Faustino de Tili, holding the lead for the remaining 41 rides.
Rails and refusals plagued a number of competitors, with the final jump on course, a red plank vertical, often causing a heartbreaking four faults. But Vanderveen put full trust in her partner of three years, knowing that speed classes are one of his strengths. “Having this qualifying class in a speed format definitely worked to my advantage, since we focused on speed classes in Wellington this year.”
She continued, “The secret is to keep him happy. When he’s having fun, he’s super careful – especially in the speed rounds and jump-offs.”
When asked how she mastered the indoor setting over a challenging track, Vanderveen commented, “Riding in the indoor is definitely a big adjustment, but I told myself that it’s not a whole new sport. I should walk the lines and ride like I normally do. So I really tried to stick with my pace from start to finish and be as tidy in my turns as possible.”
A nice way to make her first time showing in Las Vegas memorable, Vanderveen has also had time to enjoy the venue and the city. “This show is very convenient. I’ve never seen anything like it, I didn’t envision it would be like this,” she said. “My dad came to visit [from Chicago], so it’s been nice to spend time with him. There’s a lot to do without having to be stuck at the horse show all day long.”
Highlights for Friday include Round One of the WCE Equitation Finals, the $25,000 Interactive Mortgage U25 Developing Rider Series Final, and the $40,000 Las Vegas National Speed Stake, presented by Equithrive.
Thirty-five of the top scores tonight will be invited to compete in Saturday’s $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Las Vegas, presented by Interactive Mortgage. The highlight event kicks off with Opening Ceremonies at 7:30 p.m. including a Parade of Nations, special presentations, and a singing performance by Ki-Juan Minors. The spectacular evening concludes with an autograph signing in the arena foyer.
$50,000 FEI 1.50m Las Vegas National Welcome Jumper Speed Classic, presented by Walter Oil & Gas Corporation